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He Could See Freedom, But Not The Rescue Plan

By Vicky O. Misa

(First published Jan. 12, 2017)

Other than being Christmas Eve, it was just another Saturday; it was my turn to clean the church in prep for Sunday's service.

My daughter Cassandra often volunteers to help me, and I was never so glad to have her with me until the moment I discovered what awaited me there.

He was clearly an adult, but the little guy looked pitiful, staring out that big glass door — his eyes fixed on freedom, but for the life of him, he couldn't reach it.

By him, I mean a squirrel. Inside my church.

I named him Bob.

Cass and I entered through another door, getting increasingly giddy and a little terrified, but ready for an adventure.

With the sincerest of prayers at lightning speed, we asked God to spare our lives and let this wild creature know we were there to help.

Then we pumped ourselves up for the showdown.

Our only plan was to stay as far away from Bob as possible, yet guide him to an open doorway.

We knew the large gray lever he was sitting on was the key to his escape and we knew the second we touched it, our world was going to change dramatically.

What we also knew was that Bob wasn't going to simply scamper out the exit as we moved the door he was firmly attached to — no, that would be too easy.

We were right.

There's a reason people use the term “squirrelly,” and when they do, it's almost always in some reference to being hyper, crazed, skittish, jumpy and unpredictable.

All true.

This is exactly what we had trapped inside our foyer.

The thing about a foyer is that it leads to everywhere else — ours has no fewer than six directions to go.

Three paths had doors — two now closed, and the prize door outside pinned open.

That left three halls that led to a maze of many rooms — all boasting countless hidey holes.

Yes, that's three halls and only two women to render them inaccessible.

Of course, Bob bounced off every wall in an effort to go anywhere but the open doorway; he shot straight into an office downstairs, which led into another.

When we finally found him, we chased Bob back into the foyer — square one — only to repeat the whole process.

After lots of chasing and nervous laughter, we discovered the situation had finally shifted in our favor.

Armed only with my phone's flashlight, I found Bob once again, but this time he had wedged his furry self between some bags of stuff stored in a corner; he had no exit.

That's when I knew I was going to have to dig him out.


The battle had just ramped up to at least defcon 2.

No worries, though, right? I had the upper hand.

Keeping my flashlight on Bob, I employed the only other bonafide rescue tool I had with me — my trusty News-Star hoodie.

I shed the jacket gingerly and gently covered Bob and the sacks, as I prayed he wouldn't claw my face off, like it always seems to go in the movies.

I felt around his back; it must have tickled by the way he wiggled.

Man, he was buff. I had fully expected to be able to get one hand around him. Nope.

As I put my phone down Bob made his move.

Through my jacket I clung to his chunky thigh, trying to be gentle and firm at the same time.

Then Bob squealed with agonizing and heart-breaking despair, certain of his impending doom.

In that split second I wanted to set him loose, but I knew if I did, I was sure Bob would die stuck in that building.

We would never have this chance again; he was well beyond freaked out and way past being receptive to any more “help.”

It was do or die.

It's not like he didn't want to be free, it's just that he didn't know my intentions or understand my plan.

I wonder how often we do that same thing with God?

We're frantically digging in corners or banging our heads on doors, desperately seeking aid, but when it arrives we kick and fuss, full of panic — and we run.

The whole time God is there waiting patiently, wanting more than anything to rescue us, but only able to do what we will allow Him to do, in our state of hysterics.

Thankfully, it turns out Bob is a smart squirrel — he figured it out.

Once I picked him up he was freakishly calm in my hands and let me carry him safely back out to his beloved trees where he belongs.

Maybe he was just tired and weak from thirst and hunger — head reeling from the pain of running into all those walls and doors — but, personally, I think God answered my prayer and told that little psycho to calm down.

You might ask why all the fuss over some random rodent?

All I can say is this: There are many opportunities to be kind and lots of those who need our compassion; and on the flip side, we, too, need to stop looking at everyone as our enemies.

It's up to us to choose whether we will allow ourselves to trust or jump back on that treadmill of perpetual fear.

Be like Bob.

When helps arrives, it may not look like you think it should, but give it a chance.

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